- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2000

Bill Clinton and Al Gore may call themselves "New Democrats," but the new government spending they want endangers any chance we have to deliver meaningful tax relief or reduce significantly the burden of our national debt. The Democrats' ongoing trouble with over-spending also confirms their belief in the ability of money to solve all problems. Despite the surface rhetoric, these big spenders would gladly plow all of our projected budget surplus into big government by creating new programs and expanding old ones.
As we approach the fall budget debate, we should remember that this is a battle between limited government and an unrestrained, ever-expanding federal bureaucracy. New revenue estimates released this week project an even larger budget surplus and we should make certain that we use every additional dollar possible for tax relief and debt reduction, not more wasteful Washington spending.
The Democrats' appetite for spending flows from a philosophy that thinks Washington can solve every problem in America by sending a check. The ultimate goal of this scheme is to make every American a dependent of the federal government.
Let us remember that the national debt crisis was created by decades of deficit spending during the time Democrats controlled Congress. Fortunately, our current fiscal strength, after six years of a GOP Congress, presents us with an opportunity to remove this threat much more quickly than it was created. Applying funds from the on-budget surplus to retire our national debt makes fiscal sense. In addition to debt reduction, significant surplus dollars should be returned to taxpayers. After all, working Americans, not government, have first claim on this money.
Through the course of the Clinton-Gore administration, all of the fiscal discipline that the administration takes credit for has its roots outside the White House. It was the Republican Congress that forced Mr. Clinton to sign legislation that reformed our failing welfare system, balanced the budget, saved the Social Security surplus, preserved Medicare and repealed the earnings penalty on seniors who remain in the work force.
Already this year, Congress has passed legislation to lock away the Medicare surplus. We set aside $4 billion for debt reduction in fiscal year 2000 and passed a budget resolution that will allow us to earmark up to $50 billion for debt relief next year. This week the House will pass a debt reduction bill that allocates $7.5 billion for debt reduction in fiscal year 2001. The House has also been extremely active moving legislation to help the taxpayers. We provided small business tax relief, reduced the marriage penalty, phased out the death tax, ended the turn-of-the-century telephone tax and this week will again pass pension reform.
The Republican majority in Congress is, however, swimming against a tide of Clinton administration spending. If the Congress had acted on the president's wish list, there would be no surplus next year and we would soon be back to the red ink of deficit spending. Specifically, Messrs. Clinton and Gore are again calling for massive spending increases with a price tag approaching a trillion dollars. We cannot allow the unfettered appetites of expanding government programs to consume our economic vitality. We must place those impulses in check by securing the future as we retire our national debt and return surplus funds to the taxpayers who created them in the first place.

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